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Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships


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One of the criteria used to establish student eligibility in order to receive Title IV program assistance is that a student must have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent. Students who are not high school graduates (or who have not earned a General Education Development [GED] Certificate) can demonstrate that they have the "ability to benefit" from the education or training being offered by passing an approved ability-to-benefit (ATB) test.

Academic Period The school term for enrollment, such as, semester, quarter or trimester unique for each school and program with specified start and end dates.

Academic Year
The period of time utilized by the school to quantify the year’s enrollment with specified start and end dates to support the student’s eligibility for loan funds. For Example: Fall 2013 + Spring 2014 = An Academic Year

One or more loan(s) obtained by an individual that are grouped under a unique account identifier for record maintenance purposes.

The college must have accreditation from an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to be eligible to participate in the administration of federal student aid programs. Accreditation means that the college meets certain minimum academic standards, as defined by the accrediting body.

Accrued Interest
The interest amount accrued daily that has accumulated on the unpaid principal balance of a loan.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
Taxable income from all sources less IRS approved adjustments.

Adobe Acrobat Reader
Software developed by Adobe Systems, Inc. to view PDF files.

The total amount disbursed to a borrower under a given loan type throughout the student's academic career. This amount must not exceed applicable total loan limits, which are based on the student's graduate/undergraduate status.

Alternative Loan
Private loans offered by banks and schools to supplement financial aid when financial aid is not sufficient to cover costs.

American College Testing (ACT)
ACT, previously known as the American College Testing program, measures educational development and readiness to pursue college-level coursework in English, mathematics, natural science, and social studies. Student performance does not reflect innate ability and is influenced by a student's educational preparedness.

The process of repaying a loan over an extended period of time through periodic installments of principle and interest.

Amount Past Due
The total outstanding amount owed from payments with due dates that occurred in the past.

Annual Loan Limit
The maximum loan amount allowed for an academic year.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
Represents the total cost of the loan, including fees and interest accrued throughout the life of the loan reflected in a percentage.

Anticipated Completion Date
The date in which the student expects to graduate or the school anticipates the require curriculum to be completed.

Consists of the personal information entry form and the promissory note which details the terms and conditions of the loan.

Award Letter
An official document issued by the financial aid office of the college that lists all of the financial assistance available to the student.

Award Year
The financial aid award year begins July 1st and ends June 30th.


A legal action taken to declare an individual, couple or business (debtor(s)) legally insolvent, where as remaining property is administered for or divided among creditors. Federal Student Loans generally are not dischargeable under bankruptcy.

Billed Interest
The outstanding accrued interest on a loan that the borrower is responsible to pay, during an in-school, deferment or forbearance time period these payments are optional. However, at the end of the deferred period any unpaid interest will be capitalized.

The individual obtaining the loan, by signing the promissory note this individual has accepted the terms and conditions of the loan agreement including the promise to repay the loan in accordance to the terms stated.

Short for Web browser, a software application used to locate and display web pages. The two most common browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

Bursar’s Office
Functional area within the college responsible for billing and collection of outstanding funds due to the school.

Business Days
Refers to weekdays Monday through Friday only, this excludes weekends and holidays.


A safe storage technique utilized in Web site development to store data that may be accessed by multiple programs during a user session. This is effective and efficient, because many programs within a given Web site need to retrieve the same data. This process provides better response to for the user.

Campus-based aid
Financial aid programs administered by the university. The federal government provides the university with a fixed annual allocation that is awarded by the financial aid administrator to deserving students. The Perkins Loan Program, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG), and Federal Work-Study are examples of campus-based aid.

The act of stopping funds either in full or part from disbursing to release the borrower from the obligation to repay the cancelled amount. Cancellation only occurs for unconsummated funds, once the funds have been consummated a refund transaction can be processed which is not the same as a cancellation.

The process of adding the unpaid, outstanding interest to the principal balance of a loan. This will increase the balance due and may increase the monthly payment amount.

Capitalized Interest
The outstanding unpaid interest amount that is added to the principal balance of the loan, thereby increasing the principal balance, the monthly payment amount and the total amount to be paid on the loan.

Census Date
The last date to:

  • Add a class with permission.
  • Drop a course without a serious and compelling
    reason and without a grade of "W" listed on official University transcript.
  • Change to/from CR-NC grading.
  • Change from credit to audit or audit to credit registration.
  • Take examination for Credit by Examination.

A documented statement of accuracy or truth. To fulfill Federal requirements the school provides certification to verify course of study, enrollment status and other vital information, thereby confirming a student’s eligibility for student loan funding.

A secondary applicant that is equally responsible for repayment of the loan. The co-borrower is required to sign the application which includes the promissory note detailing the terms and conditions of the loan, by signing the promissory note this individual has accepted the terms and conditions of the loan agreement including the promise to repay the loan in accordance to the terms stated.

Activities such as letters or telephone calls conducted by lenders, guarantors, service providers or collection agencies conducted when an account becomes delinquent.

College Scholarship Service (CSS)
A division of the College Board that collects additional information used by colleges, universities, and scholarship programs in awarding private financial aid funds.

Combined Billing
The process of establishing the same due date day for multiple loans for one borrower account. Typically lenders or service agents establish combined billing as a convenience to customers with multiple loans in order to generate one monthly billing statement, requiring one payment per month versus multiple statements and payments due for the one customer.

Refinancing multiple education loans into one new loan with a new repayment term, monthly payments, and interest rate.

Consummated Loan
The initial disbursement check has been negotiated or the school has applied funds from a Master Check or EFT transmission to the student’s account.

The co-signer is required to sign the application which includes the promissory note detailing the terms and conditions of the loan, by signing the promissory note this individual has accepted the terms and conditions of the loan agreement including the promise to repay the loan in accordance to the terms stated in the event that the borrower does not make scheduled payments.

Cost of Attendance (COA)
The total amount a student must pay for one academic year at the school selected, this includes: tuition, room and board, books, supplies, transportation and personal expenses. The college financial aid office determines the amount.

Credit Bureau
Agency’s that obtain and store records of personal borrowing and repayment history for individuals, the information gathered is then utilized to provide reporting to lender’s upon inquiry for analysis associated with credit-based loans.

Credit Response
The approval, conditional approval, counteroffer or denial decision rendered from the credit underwriting department after evaluating an individual for a credit-based loan.

Credit Report
The output (document or data file) from the Credit Bureau containing individuals credit history, reflective of the borrower’s money-management skills for use in the credit underwriting department when evaluating an applicant for a credit-based loan.

Credit-Based Loans
Loans (i.e. PLUS or private loans) that are made to you based on your credit worthiness as opposed to Federal Stafford Loans and grants which are determined through a need analysis process based mostly on the cost of education.

Criteria established by lending institutions to evaluate an individuals credit history against when determining eligibility for a credit-based loan product.

Cumulative (aggregate) loan amount
The total amount disbursed to a borrower under a given loan type throughout the student's academic career. This amount must not exceed applicable total loan limits, which are based on the student's graduate/undergraduate status.


Data Release Number (DRN)
A four-digit number assigned to your application by the U.S. Department of Education. It will be printed on the lower left hand corner of your Student Aid Report (SAR).

Days Delinquent
The number of calendar days since the oldest unresolved late payment was due for payment.

Failure to repay a loan according to the terms specified in the promissory note. Default occurs for a FFELP Loan if payments are more than 270 days delinquent or there is a failure to comply with other terms of the loan as stated in the promissory note. Default occurs for the alternative loans if payments are more than 150 days delinquent or failure to comply with other terms of the loan as stated in the promissory note.

A period of time during repayment in which a borrower, after meeting certain criteria, is not required to make regular monthly payments. Interest payments may or may not be postponed depending on the type of loan.

If a payment is not received by the due date, it is considered delinquent. Delinquencies greater than 30 days are reported to national credit bureaus.

Vital data of a borrower maintained on the customer record, the demographic record contains such data as; name, address, phone, date of birth and driver’s license information

Department of Education, The
The United States Department of Education or an official or employee of the Department acting for the Department under a delegation of authority.

Dependent Student
Parents of undergraduate students must provide parental information on the FAFSA form unless the undergraduate student has been legally emancipated for consideration when evaluating for financial aid. A dependent student is defined as; unmarried, parents provide more than half of their financial support, under the age of 24, has no legal dependents of their own and is not orphaned or a ward of the court.

Direct Lending School
Institutions of higher education which have chosen to place all of their students’ federally insured student loans through the Federal Direct Lending Program. Such colleges or universities may either participate exclusively in the Direct Lending Program or allow students (borrowers) to choose the lending program from which to borrow.

Direct Loan
A student loan issued under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan (Direct Loan) Program. The program includes Federal Direct Stafford/Ford (Direct Subsidized) loans, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford (Direct Unsubsidized) loans, Federal Direct PLUS (Direct PLUS) loans, and Federal Direct Consolidation (Direct Consolidation) loans.

Disbursement amount
The amount requested or approved for disbursement. This amount includes origination, guarantee, and supplemental fees that are applicable to the loan program.

Disbursement Date
The date loan funds are sent to either a school or escrow agent.

Disbursement Notification
A letter that is sent to the borrower to acknowledge a loan approval and notify the borrower of when funds will be sent to the school, as well as, the loan amount and any fees (origination and/or guarantee) associated with the loan. This marks the successful completion of the loan application process.

The release of loan funds as specified by the school.

Disclosure Statement
A notification of the actual cost and terms of a loan, which includes the interest rate and any additional finance charges.

Due Date
The date for which scheduled payments must be received each month and credited to an account to be considered ""on time"".

Due Diligence
The federal government requires lenders, service providers or holders of student loans to contact the borrower, co-signer, endorser or references provided on a student loan application via telephone and mail at scheduled intervals to encourage repayment or to make necessary arrangements (Deferment or Forbearance if applicable) to resolve delinquency any time a student loan payment is not received on time.


Economic Hardship
A condition that exists when a borrower’s monthly student loan payments on federal education loans is equal to or greater than 20% of the borrower’s total monthly gross income, or the borrower is working full-time with earnings do not exceed the greater of the minimum wage or the poverty line, as defined in the FFELP regulations.

Educational Savings Account (IRA)
An individual retirement account that allows a related taxpayer to deposit up to $500. per year for each child under the age of 18. Interest earned on this type of IRA will be tax-free. In addition, withdrawals from an Education IRA will be tax-free as long as the withdrawals are used for educational expenses.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
The process whereby the bank sends the loan proceeds electronically to the school or escrow agent, if the school participates in this program.

Eligible Borrower
An individual that meets the eligibility criteria established for a given loan product. The eligibility criteria is different for each product, refer to the specific product information for details.

Eligible Citizen
A United States citizen, U.S. national, or resident of certain U.S. territories who qualify to borrow under the FFEL or FDL student lending programs.

Eligible Non-Citizen
A permanent resident of the United States who is able to present evidence from the Immigration and Naturalization Service that he or she is in the U.S. for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a citizen or permanent resident.

Emergency Loan Program
A program administered by a school's Financial Aid Office that makes short-term, low-interest loans with a low interest rate available. Many graduate schools provide loan funds for emergencies or unexpected expenses.

A procedure that makes the content of a file unreadable to anyone not authorized to view the information. It is a standard network security technique.

A signer of a promissory note who is secondarily liable for a loan obligation (i.e., who agrees to pay if the borrower does not). A lender may require a Federal PLUS borrower with adverse credit to obtain a creditworthy endorser.

Enrollment Status
The academic standing of a borrower or dependent student. This is generally defined in terms of part-time, half-time or full-time enrollment status. The student’s enrollment status is utilized to determine eligibility for financial aid.

Entrance Interview
An in-person or online counseling session with the school’s Financial Aid Office before obtaining student loans. This counseling session is to educate the student on the terms and obligations associated with taking out student loans to fund educational expenses.

Exit Interview
An in-person or online counseling session with the school’s Financial Aid Office before graduation or withdrawal to review the terms and obligations of the outstanding student loan

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
The amount a family is expected to pay toward college costs. This amount is determined via the FAFSA process by a need analysis formula established by the Federal Government and can be found on the Student Aid Report (SAR). The EFC was used for 2023-2024 and prior.

Extended Repayment Plan
An option available for federal student loans to lengthen the repayment period to reduce monthly student loan payments not to exceed 25 years.


Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP)
A loan program authorized by the Federal Government in the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. This program includes; Federal Stafford, PLUS and Consolidation Loans. These loans are funded by lenders, guaranteed by guaranty agencies and ultimately insured by the federal government.

Federal Interest Subsidy
Assistance given by the federal government in which they pay the interest on a student's loan while the student is in school and during the grace period before loan repayment begins.

Federal Loan
Loans guaranteed by the U.S. government.

Federal Methodology (FM)
The formula used to determine your Expected Family Contribution ( EFC) for federal student aid. For non need-based Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, the EFC is not a factor. Instead, a modified needs formula is used.

Depending on your financial circumstances, the FM uses one of three models to determine your EFC: the regular, the simplified, and the automatically-assessed formulas. Which one is applied depends on your financial situation.

Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
These are loans under the FFEL program for parents of dependent undergraduate students. They require a credit evaluation. The interest rate is low and repayment begins 60 days from the date of first disbursement of funds to the school.

Federal Pell Grant
One of the largest sources of grants, Pell Grants are distributed by the Federal Government and are designed to help students with financial need pay for college.

Federal Perkins Loan
A campus-based, low interest loan for graduate and undergraduate students. The college acts as the lender using a limited pool of funds provided by the Federal Government. These loans are awarded based on exceptional financial need.

Federal Stafford Loan
A loan under the FFEL program awarded on the basis of financial need. Stafford loans may be subsidized or unsubsidized. Stafford loans can be originated by a bank, credit union or other eligible lender or obtained directly from the government under the Federal Direct Lending Program.

Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC)
Office associated with the Department of Education that is available to assist students and families when applying for financial aid from the federal government.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
Government grants distributed by college’s, at their discretion, to students based on nee

Federal Work-Study (FWS)
Part of the Federal Student Financial Assistance Program that provides part-time employment for post-secondary students who need income to help meet education costs.

A form of aid given to graduate students to help support their education. Some fellowships include tuition waivers or payments to universities in lieu of tuition. Most fellowships include a stipend to cover reasonable living expenses (e.g., just above the poverty line). Fellowships are a form of gift aid and do not have to be repaid.

Financial Aid Administrator (FAA)
A staff member at an eligible school who is charged with the administration of financial aid programs.

Financial Aid Office (FAO)
A department at the college to provide assistance and guidance to students and parents related to funding of education.

Financial Aid Package
The total amount of monetary assistance available to the student, including all grants, scholarships, work-study and loans available from school, state and federal programs, as listed in a college’s financial aid award letter. It does not include alternative, non-federally guaranteed loans such as Endeavor Loans.

Financial Aid
Assistance provided in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study and loans to provide funding for an education.

Financial Need
The difference between the total cost of attendance and the Expected Family Contribution. Also known as Aid Eligibility.

A gateway that provides or denies access to an Internet site for security reasons.

Fixed interest
On a fixed interest loan, the interest rate remains the same for the life of the loan.

A temporary postponement of principal and interest payments during which the borrower is only required to pay interest on the loan. If the borrower chooses not to pay the interest, it will be capitalized at the end of the forbearance perio

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
A standard federal form used to determine the eligibility for most types of financial aid, including Federal Government backed loans. The FAFSA is typically completed early in the year and it requires income, asset and tax information from the student and/or parents.

Full-Time Employment
Working at least 30 hours per week in a position that is expected to last at least a three month period.


General Education Development (GED) Certificate
This is a certificate students receive if they´ve passed a specific, approved high school equivalency test. Students who have a GED may still qualify for federal student aid. A college that admits students without a high school diploma must make available a GED program in the vicinity of the college and must inform students about the program.

Gift aid
Financial aid, such as grants and scholarships, which does not need to be repaid.

Good Thru Date for Payoff
The date the payoff amount must be received by the lender or servicing agent of the loan in order to satisfy the payoff of the loan. If the payoff is not received by this date, then additional interest accrued after this date would need to be satisfied.

Grace Period
The amount of time allowed before principal repayment of a loan must begin after the student graduates, leaves school or drops below half-time status. No payments on the student loans are required during this time. However, interest accrued on an unsubsidized loan will be capitalized if not paid prior to the grace period end date. Details of the grace period are specified in the promissory note and are not available for all loan products.

Graduate or professional student
A student who: is enrolled in a program or course above the baccalaureate level at an institution of higher education, or enrolled in a program leading to a first professional degree; has completed the equivalent of at least three years of full-time study at an institution of higher education, either before entrance into the program or as part of the program itself; and is not receiving Title IV aid as an undergraduate student for the same period of enrollment.

Graduated Repayment Plan
An option available to schedule smaller monthly payments at the start of repayment and the payment amount would increase later in the repayment schedule to satisfy full repayment of the loan within time remaining.

Graduation or Separation Date
The last date of the student’s attendance at schoo

A form of financial aid, similar to a scholarship, which does not have to be repaid

Gross Monthly Income
The total monthly income from employment and other sources, prior to taxes and deductions.

Guarantee/Insurance Fee
A sum charged by the guaranty agency to insure a loan. The guarantee fee (sometimes called an insurance fee) is deducted from the principle amount of the loan and paid by the lender to the guaranty agency.

Guarantor/ Guaranty Agency
A state or non-profit organization, which has an agreement with the Secretary of Education under the Higher Education Act to insure student loans made by lenders.


Health Education Loan Program (HEALP)
A program comprised of three unique loans: Federal Stafford Loan, Health Professions Loan, and a Health Professions Residency Loan. Students pursuing a health professions career in the following disciplines are eligible to take advantage of the Health Education Loan: allopathy, osteopathy, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine

Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL)
Low-interest loans for graduate health profession students with exceptional financial need.

Higher One
A financial services company that has partnered with Fresno State to deliver financial refunds to you.

The institution that owns a loan.

HOPE Scholarship Tax Credit
This tax credit is available to those taxpayers who are paying education expenses for students enrolled in their first two years of college. The HOPE Tax Credit is available for up to 100% of the first $1,000. of qualified tuition and related expenses (i.e. tuition and fees, but not room and board or books) and 50% of the second $1,000. The HOPE Scholarship Tax Credit is for expenses paid after December 31st, 1997.


Income-contingent repayment
A repayment schedule for some HEAL loans under which the monthly payment amount is adjusted annually, based on the total amount of the direct loans, the family size, and the adjusted gross income (AGI) reported on the most recently filed federal income tax return. In the case of a married borrower who files a joint income tax return, the AGI includes the spouse's income.

Income-sensitive Repayment Plan
An option for some federal loans allowing the borrower’s monthly payment amount to be adjusted annually based on the borrower’s gross income during the course of the repayment schedule.

The sum of money owed to others

Independent student
A student who is either married, 24 years of age or older, enrolled in a graduate or professional education program, has legal dependents other than a spouse, is an orphan or ward of the court, or a veteran of the US Armed Forces.

A term referring to a period of time in which the student is enrolled at least half-time at an accredited school and is eligible to defer loan payments.

Interest Only Payments
Payments that will only decrease the amount of interest owed on the student loan. If an amount greater than the outstanding accrued interest amount is received the balance will be applied to reduce the principal balance. Interest can not be paid prior to being accrued.

Interest subsidy
Interest the federal government pays on certain loans while borrowers are in school, during authorized deferment, or during grace periods.

The fee charged to borrow money, usually a percentage of the outstanding principal balance, which accrues and is paid over the life of the loan.

International student
A student who is not a citizen or resident of the US who intends to attend or is attending a college, university, or other post-secondary educational institution.



K-12 Family Education Loans
Loans available for parents or other credit-worthy family members of children attending private K-12 schools


Last payment amount
The amount of the last payment the lender has received from the borrower. The amount displayed will reflect the amount enclosed with the last specific statement or payment coupon.

Last payment received date
The date the last payment was received. The date displayed will reflect the date the payment was processed by the lender.

Late Fee
An administrative charge that a lender or service agent may assess if a student loan payment is not received on time.

A financial institution that provides funds to the borrower.

Lifetime Learning Tax Credit
The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit is available to people beyond the first two years of undergraduate studies, graduate students or working U.S. citizens taking classes to improve or upgrade their job skills. It can be used for qualified tuition and related expenses (i.e. tuition and fees, but not room and board or books) paid by the taxpayer. The tax credit equals 20% of the first $10,000 of qualifying educational expenses paid by the taxpayer after January 1st, 2003. The maximum credit is $2,000.

Loan balance
The total unpaid amount of a specific loan. This sum includes outstanding principal, capitalized interest, accrued interest, late charges, and any miscellaneous fees such as returned check fees.

Loan Number
A unique identifier assigned to represent a specific loan within a customers account.

Loan period
The period of enrollment for which a loan application is certified.

A sum of money borrowed (principal) usually for a specific reason (e.g. to obtain an education, buy a car, etc.). The entity lending the money (e.g. a bank) usually charges interest for use of the money. The amount of money borrowed is typically repaid with interest over a period of time. Complete terms and conditions are detailed.

Loan Status
Indicates the condition or standing of the student loan at any point within the loans lifecycle. Examples would include "In-School" or "Repayment" statuses.


Master Promissory Note (MPN)
A legally binding agreement the borrower signs, in which the borrower promises to repay the loan with interest in periodic installments. Under a Master Promissory Note (MPN) the borrower may receive multiple loans for either a single period or multiple periods of enrollment. If uses as a multi-year note, most borrowers will sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN) once and the note remains valid for a 10 year period for reuse.

Multiple Disbursements
Loan proceeds that are paid in more than one check or electronic transaction. For example, a portion of the loan may be sent to the school to be applied towards the first semester of school and the balance sent at a later day to be applied toward the second semester of school.


National Student Loan Clearinghouse
An organization that provides a electronic transfer of enrollment updates service to schools, the school reports the enrollment information to the organization which then transmits the enrollment information to lenders and servicing agencies accordingly.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's (ED's) central database for student aid. NSLDS receives data from schools, guaranty agencies, the Direct Loan program, the Pell Grant program, and other Department of ED programs. NSLDS Student Access provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and Pell grants so that recipients of Title IV Aid can access and inquire about their Title IV loans and/or Pell grant data.

Needs Analysis
The process that determines the student’s need for financial assistance. The process evaluates the total cost of attendance compared to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to provide options to cover the remaining unpaid balance to attend the student’s school of choice.

Net Amount
The total amount of money sent to the school or escrow agent by a lender after deduction of any guarantee or origination fees.

Non-Direct Lending Schools
Institutions of higher education which have chosen to place their student’s federally insured student loans through the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). In the FFEL program, borrowers choose a lender from which to borrow and the lender then obtains a loan guarantee from a state or private non-profit guarantee agency.


Original Loan Balance
The beginning principal balance of a loan, which would include any origination and/or guarantee fees deducted from the loan balance.

Origination Fee
A sum charged by the Federal Government on FFEL loans to offset the cost of processing the loan. The amount of the fee is deducted from the principal balance of the loan by the lender and paid to the U.S. Department of Education.

A process to manage incoming applications through disbursement of a loan utilized by a lender or servicing agency. This process typically includes; evaluation of the information provided on the application to ensure it is complete, credit response processing, guarantee and certification of the loan application prior to disbursement of funds to the school.


Past Due Amount
The total unpaid balance from payments previously due on an account.

Pay Online
A function available on that allows student loan borrowers to submit monthly payments via the Internet.

Payment Schedule
A summary of the repayment terms of a loan, including the principle balance, finance charge, payment due date, number of payments, and interest rate.

Payment Status
Indicates the disposition of an online payment. Scheduled means the payment is waiting to be sent to the banking network. Pending indicates the payment is working its way through the banking clearing house. Payment indicates that the lender has received funds and credited the account. Cancelled indicates the payment was stopped before its scheduled date.

Payoff Balance
The total amount required to payoff the loan. It includes the outstanding principal balance plus any unpaid accrued interest and outstanding fees if applicable.

Payoff date
The date on which the loan payoff calculation is based. The ending principal balance, interest, fees, etc. are combined to determine the final payment amount. This date is set 10 days in the future from the date the payoff amount is requested. This is to allow time for the borrower to forward a check in the mail and not leave a small outstanding balance.

Period of enrollment
The period for which aid is made as determined by the school. A period of enrollment coincides with an academic term such as the academic year, semester, trimester, or quarter, and starts on the day classes begin.

Post-secondary Education
A term referring to programs at colleges, technical or vocational schools for individuals extending their education beyond high school.

Poverty Line
The poverty guidelines as published by the Department of Health and Human Services for monthly income.

Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT)
A two-hour test given once a year in October. As with the SAT, there are separate math and verbal scores. In addition, the test also includes a third scored section testing English grammar. Each subject is scored on a scale of 20 to 80 and these scores are combined to create the National Merit Scholarship selection index.

Prime Rate
The prime interest rate is the rate charged by commercial financial institutions for short-term loans to corporations or individuals whose credit standing is high enough that little risk to the lender is involved in making the loan. This rate fluctuates based on economic conditions and may be different among financial institutions. The prime rate serves as a basis for the interest rates charged for other higher-risk loans.

Principal Balance
The outstanding amount owed, excluding accrued but unpaid interest.

The dollar amount of the loan that must be repaid upon maturity, and upon which interest will be charged.

Privacy Promise
Documented business practices of how a financial institution utilizes and shares personal information obtained.

Private Loan
Private loans provide supplemental funding when other financial aid does not cover costs. Banks or other financial institutions and schools offer these loans (not sponsored by government agencies) to parents and students.

Promissory Note
A binding agreement the borrower signs to obtain a loan. The note includes all the terms and conditions of the loan and the borrower’s promise to repay the loan with interest.

Proprietary Schools
Post-secondary educational institutions typically offering technical and/or vocational studies as a private for profit organization.



Loan applications generally require the name, address and telephone number for individuals for inquiries such as; to obtain updated contact information for the borrower if the address and/or telephone number on file are outdated. The individuals provided are utilized for references for the borrower’s loan application.

A sum of money returned by the school and applied toward the outstanding balance of the loan as unconsummated funds.

Repayment Period
The amount of time the borrower has to repay the money borrowed plus interest.

Repayment schedule
The legal addendum to the Promissory Note stating the terms of loan repayment and fulfilling disclosure requirements. The Repayment Schedule is a plan that indicates the total principal and interest due, an installment amount, and the number of installments required to pay the loan in full. The Repayment Schedule also contains the interest rate for the loan(s) included on the schedule, the due date of the first and subsequent installments, and the frequency of installments.

Repayment start date
The date the repayment period begins. For Federal Stafford loans, repayment begins on the day following the last day of the grace period. For Federal PLUS and Federal SLS loans, repayment begins on the date the loan is fully disbursed.

The period during which a physician receives specialized clinical training.


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
An eligibility requirement for borrowers, established by schools, to receive federal student aid.

Scholarship Aptitude Test (SAT)
A seven-section, three-hour exam that is administered seven times per year. Three of the sections are verbal, three are math and one is experimental. The experimental section can be either verbal or math. It is used by the test-makers for research purposes only and will not count toward the student’s final average.

Like grants, scholarships are a form of financial aid that is not required to be repaid. These are available from many sources including community groups, schools and private corporations. Scholarships can be awarded based on a variety of criteria including scholastic achievement, hobbies and college majors.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
Used to authenticate the data encryption between the server and the browser.

Servicing Agency
An organization that acts on behalf of another organization (holder) to conduct billing and collects of loan payments.

Social Security Number (SSN)
The nine-digit number assigned to the borrower by the Social Security Administration. The SSN is used as an identifier for tracking the borrower's loan account(s), skip tracing, and reporting to the Department. A borrower must have an SSN in order to apply for a FFELP loan.

Standard Repayment Plan
The optimal repayment schedule utilizing consistent monthly payment amounts throughout the entire repayment schedule to ensure the loan balance is satisfied within the allowed 10 year repayment period for federal loans.

A monthly report that reflects the loan balance, amount paid and amount due on the student loan account. Statements typically reflect account activity up to the date the statement is generated. Statements are usually mailed to the borrower and are also available for viewing online.

Student Aid Index (SAI)

Your Student Aid Index (SAI) is a formula-based index number ranging from –1500 to 999999. The SAI is used to calculate your financial aid eligibility for the 2024-2025 academic year and academic years following. 

Student Aid Report (SAR)
A report sent to a student by the government 4 to 6 weeks after submission of the FAFSA form. The report informs the student of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the financial aid for which the student is eligible. College financial aid offices utilize this report information to build a financial aid package for the student.

Student Loan Interest Deduction
Interest deduction that eligible taxpayers may deduct on their federal income tax return equal to the amount of interest paid during the tax year on any qualified education loan for the period of time as defined by law. The deduction applies to interest paid after December 31st, 1997. The Student Loan Interest Deduction is part of the Taxpayers Relief Act of 1997.

Subsidized Loans
A loan on which the government pays the interest for a student while enrolled in school at least half-time and during periods of grace and deferment (i.e. Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan).


T-Bill (91-Day)
Refers to the auction rate determined for 91-day Treasury Bills by the public auction held by the United States Treasury Department. The interest rates for Stafford and PLUS loans are tied to the auction rates held at certain times of the year. The rate(s) can be obtained from the Treasury Department, but is also available in many newspapers including The Wall Street Journal.

A length of time in which to repay a loan. The term is usually agreed to by the lender and borrower within the borrower's contract or promissory note. Also refers to language used in legal documents, such as the promissory note, that defines how a loan will be borrowed and repaid. Also refers to some post-secondary educational institutions' academic periods.

The Financial Aid Administrator (FAA)
The individual from within the Financial Aid Office representing the school.

Title IV
A section of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, that authorizes federal loan, work, and grant education financial assistance programs.

Costs associated with instruction and facilities charged by the school for attendance.


Undergraduate student
A degree-seeking student at a college or university who has not earned a first bachelor's degree.

Unsubsidized Loans
A loan on which the borrower is always responsible for paying the interest on the loan, while in-school, during deferment, forbearance and grace periods. (i.e. Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan or Federal PLUS Loan)


Variable Interest
Interest rates that change periodically (e.g. quarterly, annually, etc.). The interest rates for Federal Stafford and PLUS Loans are set by the government each year and change annually on the first of July. Endeavor Loan rates change quarterly.


This is an IRS form which taxpayers use to certify that loans meet the definition of qualifying education debt and which allows lenders to report to the IRS the amount of interest paid on student loans as interest which qualifies for possible tax deductions.